This post was precipitated by an atheist’s blog in which the owner said she had donated blood for the people of the U.S. Bible Belt after last week’s tornadoes. I immediately wondered why she would give blood to people who wouldn't want their sons to marry her; who wouldn’t vote for her for any office whatsoever; who would do their damnedest to shove their religion down her throat while silencing her own beliefs; and whose enthusiastic acceptance of this country’s torture of political prisoners would imply that it wouldn’t take much encouragement for them to subject people like her to a similar fate. George H. Bush surely spoke for most Americans when he said: “I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.”
Other things that make me feel that I’m not a true citizen of the U.S. of A:
I know almost nothing about modern American music, movies, celebrities, or commercial television—and I would be embarrassed if I did.
The death of bin Laden. Aside from the fact that it’s in questionable taste to take to the streets to celebrate the death of anyone, bin Laden’s attack inspired us to: curtail our own civil liberties, waste a trillion and a half dollars, cause the deaths of 1.75 million people, and become a nation of torturers; so rather than gloat because we have at long last killed him, we should hang our heads in shame over the far greater evil that we have done.
The fact that America cares not a whit for the opinions of the cultured or the learned, but let Oprah Winfrey or Donald Trump express any opinion on anything, and you will hear of it. Only the opinions of the rich and famous matter in America.
Going to the library for a book on Thomas Paine (one of America’s most important founding fathers) and only finding two books on him versus a dozen on his shelf-mate, Sarah Palin.
The news media because it is a tool for marginalizing dissidents, and it succeeds very well indeed. I’ll give two examples from last week.
1) England’s royal wedding, strangely enough. It occupied a full third or more of the national news all week despite that fact that 328 Americans were killed and major portions of many towns were destroyed by tornadoes. If the news is to be believed, the whole country was absolutely gaga over that wedding.
2) A local cop’s funeral last week during which a 1,000-vehicle procession proceeded up and down the streets of the city for two solid hours creating major traffic jams. Surely I’m not the only one who thought the hype, the in-your-face machismo, and the unwarranted favoritism (others who die while serving the public good are not so honored), was absurd, yet you would never have suspected it from watching the local news.
Almost everything my government does. It’s as if the people who are running this country are hell-bent on its speedy destruction, and the voters are behind them all the way. I stand aghast at the way this country is run, not just sometimes, but all the time.
The myths that Americans hold about this country. For example: that we’re uniquely favored by god to be the pre-eminent nation on earth; that the free world loves us for protecting it; that we are a moral example to other nations; that everything about America is the best in the world; and that other nations are either completely for us or completely against us, with the latter being on the side of evil.
America is so in love with size and convenience that we ignore the most basic means of protecting the environment even when they would save us money. For example, recycling, composting, reusable shopping bags, fuel-efficient vehicles, public transit, minimal product packaging, and smaller homes on smaller lots. We’re betting this country’s future on the hope that advancing technology will make it possible for us to be wasteful forever, yet we give very little funding to developing that technology.
Our entire economy is built on permanent growth (i.e. more goods for more people forever), yet permanent growth is unsustainable. This is not a fact that Americans can acknowledge simply because Americans are obsessed with owning things. (We call it “retail therapy,” and our national motto is “Shop ‘til you drop.”) I would even suggest that we have basically two religions in this country. The most popular by far is consumerism, and its distant second is Christianity, yet this is not the order we acknowledge. Because I embrace neither, it’s as if I’m in a constant state of pissing on the flag, which, come to think of it, I am—I speak of what the nation has become rather than the ideals upon which it was founded.
In fact, the two things that I hate most in this world are the United States of America and Christianity, because while there are worse things, these are the two that are in my face everyday. Yet, the world’s best hope isn’t that my greedy, arrogant, wasteful, bankrupt, and warmongering nation collapses but that it evolves. I fear that the first is all but certain, and the second all but fanciful. I say this because America shows no signs of changing its ways despite the fact that it is very nearly eyeball to eyeball with destruction. To hell with future generations and even the earth itself, Americans want what they want, and they want it now.